Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by chiefMOJOrisin, Sep 26, 2007.

  1. It is not a new fact that there are planets orbiting stars other than our own sun. There have been over 200 exo-planets discovered using various techniques. One technique being the 'wobble'. Orbiting planets have a gravitational effect on their parent stars in a way that causes the star to 'wobble' or shift. Sceintists can determine the size and mass of these planets simply by observing the stars wobble.

    While discovering these planets, the scientists tried to get an idea of what they are like. Several exo-planets found are many times bigger than jupiter. There have been planets found that are very big and orbit quite close to their stars....like Mercury close.

    However, one aspect that I have wondered about is why you can count the number of planets in these planetary systems on one hand. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there haven't been any systems discovered with more than 3 or 4 planets.

    Why did our solar system form 8 true planets and countless other smaller bodies, while all these other systems formed much less. Albiet that most are much larger....but that raises another question. Why did the amount of matter given off from the explosion that formed our solar system form the way it did?? Why didn't it form fewer, huge planets?? Do these planetary systems have more matter?? It must have to do with the stars.

    To me, the answer to these questions are key. To find out why our system formed so many bodies as opposed to other systems could lead to new science. New science that will help us know where to look for systems similar to our own. If we one day figured out what type/size/age stars form what kind of planets, it would allow us to narrow down our search for the 'goldilocks' planet. The one thats not too close or far from its star and thats the right temperature to support liquid water..... which in turn could support life.

    To my knowledge, there has only been one 'goldilocks' planet discovered so far. And if my memory serves me correctly, it is too far away to ever get there in a lifetime (a thousand lifetimes) or to see it with either land based or space telescopes.

    In my opinion, it is down right ignorant to think that there can't be planets like earth or life somewhere else in the universe. Our sun is one star among billions in our galaxy, the Milky Way. The Milky Way is one galaxy among billions of galaxies. It is almost stupid to think out of that large a number of stars (1 billion x 1 billion<---there are more stars than that) that there can't be one single-celled organism. Which is most likely the first type of lifeform we would find. Perhaps some bacteria or something.

    And planets aren't the only thing life can emerge on. In our solar sytem alone there are 138 known moons. 62 orbiting Jupiter alone. And there very well could be more around the solar system. The biggest moon, Ganymede is bigger than Mercury and Pluto. In addition to the planets and moons, there are comets, asteroids, and dwarf planets (pluto, charon..etc.) In the Kuiper Belt and Oort cloud there are millions of comets and small bodies. So in our solar system alone, there are literally thousands and millions of places that life can exist. And that is around ONE star. Even if there was 1/8th the amount of eligible places for life around EVERY THIRD star, there would still be an extraordinary amount chances. Obviously every single body in the universe isn't the perfect place for life. But the sheer number of chances is staggering.

    I for one can not wait until I hear the news-cast describing the type of life forms found under Europa's ice. Or to read an article describing a blue and green planet with a mean temperature of 70 degrees F discovered orbiting a star in our relative neighborhood in the galaxy. I can only hope that in my lifetime I can enjoy events like that. I am stoked as hell (and have been for a while) and can't wait for New Horizons to get to Pluto in 2015. I want to see a true color close-up of Pluto's surface. I want to see a true color close-up of a Kuiper Belt object. (not pluto or charon or any of those). I can't wait to see a man walk on Mars. And most of all.... I can't wait until I can afford a trip to the moon. I want to float around on the moon. I want to look through a telescope on the moon.... since there is no atmosphere and the moon is closer to space, observing would be phenomenal. I can say right now that I will be pissed beyond belief and have lived and unfulfilled life if before I die I don't get to go into space. Atleast far enough to be in zero-gravity and float around. And I'm not talking about paying $20,000 to go in a free-falling plane to be weightless for 20 seconds. <--(Steven Hawking did... that was awesome).

    One day....................

    I hope they have herb is space :smoke:
  2. That is because current methods are still only able to detect the largest planets, not the smaller ones, like Earth, Mars and Venus.

    There are likely more, but until we refine our searching equipment and techniques, we're limited to the types of extrasolar planets we can detect.

    As far as I know, it has to do with the composition of the nebular gases which compose our Sun and solar system, which varies greatly throughout our galaxy. This gives a mediocre explanation.

    There is more and better information on the subject out there, but I have faith in your ability to research the topic :)

    Absolutley, I'd agree with you.

    Hell, for all we know, there could be a bronze-age civilization of aliens out there, just waiting to be contacted by us.

    If you ask me, though, the best method in which we will find "modern" alien civilizations akin to our own is through SETI.

    Either way, It's an endevour well worth the work and dedication of resources.

    Yes, Gliese 581 d. It is 20.4 light years from our Solar System.... a LONG way away. An exciting find, none-the-less. The implications are wonderfully in favor of life.

    Well, there are various hypothesis which attempt to explain why we don't seem to be able to detect any life.

    They range from the fact that life may be so such a rare occurrence, that any significantly advance civilization is simple too far away to ever contact in the lifetime of a civilization. Or maybe that only know is life beginning to spawn in the Universe - as arrogant as it sounds, we may be one of the first instances of multi-cellular life in the universe.

    There are a number of these ideas. I would like to think that life is out there, and it's only a matter of time until we find it. Right now, we simply don't know, though.

    Anyways, you touch on some great topics. I really admire your appreciation for astronomy and the Universe outside of our biosphere.

    I like this quote:

    [SIZE=+1]Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition.
    -- Isaac Asimov
  3. 1 thing that helped our solar system immensely is that the largest planets are all the furthest away from the sun

    this creates a gravity shield for us and the other smaller planets.

    Jupiter and saturn both act as comet shields for the earth, as large rocks come into the solar system, the gravitational force altes the course of the comets, or even traps them as thus you get rings and moons
  4. Hmm, aren't you assuming there that we are among the most advanced life in the universe? Given the vast scale of the universe, I have two most probable theories (on no particular order):

    1) Life on earth is an anomaly. Pretty boring.

    2) Life is abundant throughout the universe. So abundant that we are among, if not, the youngest species that can communicate using displacement. We are somewhere between 6,000 to 200,000 years old as a species, depending on who you ask, which is peanuts in cosmic time. Think about the exponential growth of our species' technology, if another civilization invented the printing press 1000 years before we did, they would be so far beyond what we can really comprehend. Assuming they could handle the growing pains at least as well as we seem to be managing.

    My guess is they'll find us, we've been beaming systematic radiation into space for 60+ years, if they're out there they'll probably hear it. There's probably an inter-stellar network of probe droids out there just waiting for our call.
  5. Oh, buddy, if they don't have space herb yet, then the russians have been wasting a very valuable space station. Anti-gravity bud growth would be phenomenal!

    I agree with Azimuthal's number 2, no shitty pun intended. The Earth is a rare commodity in the cosmos, capable of attracting a lot of cosmic attention.

  6. not neccesarily. for all we know our planet and the sun and its neighbors in the solar sytem already have names. Names given by a team of humanoids that is being paid by their system of government to map thier skies. The 'names' we have given for our cosmos are from earth looking out. From Gliese 531 d (thanks rasta....I knew it was out there) looking out, everything could be named differently. I've often fantasized about arguing with space organisms about the names of space bodies.

    I reject your reality and substitute my own. I believe that your number 2 is a very likel scenario. There is no doubt the leaps we have made in technology over even the last decade are phenomenal. But having said that, extra-terrestrial civilizations could be working with an entirelyt different set of raw materials.

    To touch on what Rasta said....
    one reason could be that we are the 'most advanced' organism and everything we are looking for only knows how to move and eat and screw. I'm an avid believer that when we do find life (not when and if) the first find will be a bacteria or some other microscopic being. Something that has adapted to filter out its needs from the exotic landscapes of the cosmos.

    They probably already have.... their sitting in lazy boys roastin headies laughing their asses off. Kinda like a 5 year old hiding behind a tree while he watches his mother call his name and look for him.

    I appreciate you faith in my abilities, Rasta. And I do believe I've got it.... The younger a star is during its formation, the stronger its steller winds. Due to those winds, whatever has been formed during the accretion process gets thrown outward and for the most part ends the process.

    The temerature variation in the disk is the reason why there are huge gas giants and small rocky planets. Inside the 'frost line' it is too hot for hydrogen to condense, so only the rocky molecules are capable of accretion. Outside the frost line, icey and rocky materials condense to form icey protoplanets. Basically Pluto. Since these ice balls are in a less dense area of 'planetismals' (great word) they get smashed less, there for have the ability to grow very big. Much bigger than the earth. Once they get huge, their gravity is strong enough to collect helium and hydrogen....which happens at a very fast rate...allowing them to grow to gas giants.

    One question I emediatly thought about was why some of the giant gas exo-planets orbit so close to their parent stars? Its apparent that the gas giants in our solar system followed these laws of accretion and were eventually blown out into space. But if it is too hot close to the star for hydrogen to condense, then why are there gas giants bigger than Jupiter orbiting as close to their stars as Mercury? Perhaps the star has yet to blow it out, or maybe an early gas giant ate a rocky body, giving it the stability in needs to stay in such a radiation ridden, hot environment.....i have no clue.

    One thing is for sure.... nothing else inspires such interest and intrigue as the cosmos.

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